Bangladesh’s left-wing veteran dies in suspcious fire

December 5th, 2008 - 1:48 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Dec 5 (DPA) A veteran of Bangladesh’s left-wing political scene, Nurul Islam, 68, died at Dhaka’s Combined Military Hospital Thursday, a day after he sustained critical burns in a mysterious fire at his apartment in the capital, officials at the hospital said.The president of the leftist Ganatantry Party, Nurul succumbed to his injures at the hospital in the afternoon, the hospital officials said. His son Tamohar Islam, 35, also died in the fire that broke out at their residence in the early hours of Wednesday.

Nurul Islam had filed his candidacy for the Dec 29 parliamentary polls, on the Awami League-led political alliance ticket.

Although police say that a short-circuit caused the pre-dawn fire, alliance leaders suspect that radical Islamists might have been behind an act of sabotage.

At a press conference, Nurul’s relatives and party leaders asked the government to launch an investigation into the incidents, saying he had been receiving threats from militants by phone since he filed his nomination for the parliamentary constituency.

Bangladesh’s two former prime ministers - Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia - visited Nurul while he had been undergoing medical treatment at the hospital.

Nurul Islam was involved in left movements, mainly working on labour rights, for over four decades. He was also presidium member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, and the Trade Union Centre.

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